The ‘Closed Channel Thinking’ error consists of three distinct parts; no disclosure, not receptive, no self-criticism. Any one of these components will lead to a closed thinking channel which is required for meaningful change and growth. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep an open channel which will allow for the possibility of being positively influenced and receptive to change. In the book, the Purpose Driven Life, five R’s are suggested that can help the recovering criminal thinker and even the responsible ones among us on that journey. I added a sixth:
First we need to RECEIVE the message. Receiving a positive message means allowing yourself to hear it. Listening is more important than speaking for someone interested in learning and change. My mother used to tell me God gave you two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you speak! If you feel like closing the door on someone who is speaking the truth or running away from the responsible voice of a friend, it is at those times we must be the most open. When the message hurts and challenges our fundamental beliefs we can engage in active listening and challenge ourselves to see what is true about our selves in the message. If our first instinct is to quickly respond and contradict the message we are receiving, we should do the opposite and discover how the message is true in our lives. If it is too emotional a task at the moment to respond with kindness and humility, assume the posture of openness and thank the person for their feedback and tell them honestly that you will look into it. The feedback we most despise is often the very key to fundamental change and growth.
The next blog post will focus on Reading as a method to maintaining a clear and open channel of thinking!